BT is at his strongest on trance tracks, but on Movement in Still Life he takes on a new genre with every song. His hyperkinetic production style reaches new extremes as he slices and dices the sound with ginsu aplomb. Not the pure trance album that many listeners may want, Movement in Still Life is a great album nevertheless.
On this 2000 release, BT tries out a new style with each song, and makes each of them his own. BT moves beyond trance into standard song forms, but throws in big-beat percussion programming, and some excellent vocal tracks.
The first three tracks cover a lot of territory. “Madskillz” is a techno take on hip-hop or rap. The vocals are great and the rhythm programming is uniquely BT. He throws in a lot of interesting effects to add interest, even what sounds like Atari video game samples.
The next cut, “Never Gonna Come Back Down” is a great song, too. M.Doughty delivers whacked-out stream-of-consciousness lyrics about DJ Rap, chorley rates, and blonde English girls with ghetto names like Charisse. It’s about absolutely nothing put is so full of energy and style, who cares?
“Dreaming” is a vocal trance number where the lyrics and music work together to create a hypnotic groove:
“We don’t know how it can be,
Searching out dignity.
Nothing can be as savage as love,
One taste is never enough.
With new hope, no place for tears.
Catch my hand and come with me.
Close your eyes and dream.”
It’s too bad BT doesn’t focus more on trance numbers, because every one he does is a complete killer. “Godspeed” is a instrumental track that demonstrates what BT can do with progressive trance. It’s techno and trance, with fantastic drum programming, great breakdowns, and is full of interesting sounds and effects. He uses effects masterfully to create motion – sounds swirl around your ears and disappear into the distance. BT also does his ginsu sound slicing to abstract vocals into percussive elements.
“Running Down the Way Up” has sexy vocals by Kirsty Hawkshaw. She sounds like she could read your grocery list and make it sound good. There’s more extreme vocal manipulation, used to great effect.
The only weak track on the album, ironically, is the title track “Movement in Still Life”. This cut tries to rework some sampled rap from the eighties. It was lame then, and doesn’t fare much better now.
Overall, Movement in Still Life is an exciting album that really shows off BT’s skill as a sound programmer and producer. Electronica fans will wish that there were more trance and techno cuts, but if you listen to it as a collection of electronic pop music, it’s an exceptional album.